MIT Archives — LIRNEasia

LIRNEasia’s ongoing big data research was recently presented at the prestigious NetMob conference held at MIT from April 8-10, 2015, attended by some of the foremost academics and researchers from the world working with mobile network big data. LIRNEasia research fellows Gabriel Kreindler and Yuhei Miyauchi made a presentation on their ongoing work on quantifying urban economic activity using mobile phone data. | Presentation Slides | Abstract | Our other ongoing work on understanding land use characteristics in Colombo city (being lead by our researcher Kaushalya Madhawa) was selected for a poster presentation.  | Abstract |  
With two MIT alumni on staff, LIRNEasia keeps an ear out for the good things happening at this premier engineering school. They have just announced the creation of a new Institute for Data, Systems and Society, intended to bring together researchers working in the mathematical, behavioral, and empirical sciences to capitalize on their shared interest in tackling complex societal problems. Our colleagues at Yuan Ze University in Taiwan have already established a big data center. We’ve tried to get this process started in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh too. Hopefully, the MIT move will energize these conversations which are proceeding with due deliberation.
Online edition of The Atlantic has reproduced the piece of Leo Mirani that refers to LIRNEasia’s 2012 findings on Internet being eclipsed by Facebook. Jonathan Zittrain of MIT has posted this article on his Facebook page. And that is the beauty of a good research.
MIT’s professor Mitchel Resnick puts coding before the cart of literacy, “To thrive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to design, create and express themselves with digital technologies.” And we have covered it. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the father of www, thinks the lawmakers should also know coding. He believes it is crucial that politicians appreciate the technical capabilities of computers and that a knowledge of coding is key. “We need more people in parliament who can code, not because we need them to spend their time coding but because they have got to understand how powerful a weapon it is, so that they can make laws that require people to code to make machines behave in different ways.
What LIRNEasia tries to do with its teleuse@BOP research is to understand how and why people use ICTs at the bottom of the pyramid. We do this from the demand side. That has its advantages, but disadvantages too, such as cost, shortcomings in memory, etc. Therefore, we were thrilled to see someone else engaged in the same project, but from a different angle. Nathan Eagle, a research fellow at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, believes that mobile phones offer more than a way to communicate.

Mobile Craig’s List in Bangladesh

Posted on August 18, 2007  /  1 Comments

A colleague from IDRC has written about: CellBazaar ( . .   a community-centric, mobile phone based market to connect buyers and sellers, especially in rural & mofussil (semi urban/rural) Bangladesh.
Rohan Samarajiva Information Technologies and International Development (ITID) – MIT Press, Winter 2006, Vol. 3, No. 2, Pages 57-71 Abstract: Wireless technologies play an enormously important role in extending access to voice and data communications by hitherto excluded groups in society, especially in the world’s most populated region and now the largest mobile market, the Asia-Pacific. The present rates of growth and levels of connectivity could not have been achieved without wireless in the access networks, for mobile as well as for fixed, and in the backbone networks. But the solution is not simply wireless; it is wireless combined with new investment; it is wireless combined with other inputs and systems.
LIRNEasia is sending its Lead Economist Harsha de Silva to participate on a MIT scholarship to the first ever executive course offered by the Poverty Action Lab this summer. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a unit within MIT’s Department of Economics, serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on “randomized trials”. According to Harsha, this program can significantly contribute to WDR & LIRNEasia’s ongoing and future research projects on ICTs. For example, “In the Teleuse on Shoestring project it is difficult to measure how much the poor actually benefitted from having access to the phone. There are a number of variables like cultural background, access to other infrastructure services, level of education etc which make it difficult for us to pinpoint how much access to telephone had in improving the quality of life of the poor in India and Sri Lanka,” said Harsha.